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Basic Internet connection information for PC


Saly
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Hello,

I am new to RVing and we will be in a Class C motorhome in Arizona for a month.   The locations will be random, in parks and in parking lots.  How do I keep or get an  internet connection for the PC?  

Is there a general information sheet on the Escappes website that will inform me of the ins and outs of internet use on the road?  The phone should work out fine but the PC is needed.  

Thanks for the help.   I am really excited to try out a month of exploring.   

Sally

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Hi Sally,

Besides WIFI connections from some CG's, McDonalds and the likes, we also invested in a Verizon MIFI Pay As You Go.   We've found that very beneficial to keeping us connected here and there in-between accessing FREE or included WIFI connections.   Not cheap by any means but has worked for our needs (mainly myself for trading) during 2017 as we travelled.

 

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Hello Fulltimewanabe,

You are most kind to share the scope with me regarding internet service.   I will look into the Verizon MIFI service rates and see if they work for our situation.   You have be most helpful and we appreciate you taking the time to share the basics.  

Best regards,   Sally

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6 hours ago, Saly said:

 I will look into the Verizon MIFI service rates and see if they work for our situation.

Welcome to the Escapee forums!

For security reasons, you should not do financial or other secure business transactions on public wifi. It is fine for surfing and general use, but we never bank or use credit cards via publicly open wifi. Be aware that some scam operations have been known to set up a free wifi close to legitimate ones that use a name sounding like the public one and anyone who makes the mistake of using the scam wifi gets all of the information(card numbers, PIN's, etc.)  they send anyone recorded by the owner. 

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Quote

For security reasons, you should not do financial or other secure business transactions on public wifi.

It has always been my understanding that if using a secure connection i.e. https; that while a hacker may be able to intercept a transmission, the encrypted data can not be read.

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A lot of this discussion depends on YOUR level of tech knowledge, AND a lot of folklore that non techie people have heard and continue to propagate.

Calculate, if you will, the odds on someone passing through Pigs Knuckle Arkansas exactly when you are, and at THAT moment that you decide to pay your bills being in the SAME Walmart parking lot as you, AND being such a "skilled hacker" that at that moment in time they access your computer, somehow manage to know YOUR passwords,  and find a way to clean out your bank account, all on a 128 bit encrypted connection through your tunnel connection to your bank. CAN it happen? Sure. You could also get hit by an engine that fell off a jet in mid flight. That encrypted data can not be "un-encrypted". It's like feeding sausage backwards into a meat grinder and expecting to get pigs out of the feed side.

What i WOULD do is start reading a lot, educate yourself and the nuanced differences between wifi and cellular, and prepare to read a lot of misinformation from people who don't know what they are talking about. There is good stuff out there, but there is also a lot of folklore. Things that MUST be true because "my brother-in-law's barber's butchers' son-in-law's cousin's girlfriend's mom had it happen".

Do your banking on cellular, email and watch TV on wifi. To go into more depth, put your computers behind a repeater and connect the repeater to the public wifi and log your computers into the repeater. Your computers will pull IPs in the private category (192.168.x.x or 10.10.x.x) and not be routeable from the outside. I read so much online about people's computer woes, yet somehow I have never had a virus or anything go bad that was MY fault. If some database gets stolen, there is nothing you could do about that, Just practice safe computing. Change your passwords regularly, don't use the same password everywhere, and don't let your computer auto populate passwords. If you do that, you'll be fine. Just make sure you keep a log book somewhere offline (a spreadsheet stored on a thumb drive) with your passwords, because if you start forgetting them you will spend your whole life creating passwords. Just what I call basic basics.....

Mainly don't fall for the scammers who call you from "Windows support" saying they have detected that your computer has a virus, but THEY can fix it for $299.99!!! I kept one on the phone for over an hour once!!! Knowledge is power in this case. Your cell phone carrier will have the hardware you need to share your data across devices. You will hear hotspot, jetpack and mifi used interchangeably. Hotspot generally is correctly used to designate when you open your cell phone up for data connections. a Jetpack is an external device that acts like your home router but for cellular. Mifi is an older term for what a Jetpack does. Back when this stuff was born, they needed a name for the protocols, and IEEE 802.11 didn't have and zing to it. So it was named Wifi, as in Wireless Fidelity, which happened to rhyme with HiFi from back when home stereo was new. MiFi rhymes with Wifi, and it can be interpreted as MY wifi, or MiFi. (I once had a fun discussion where we came up with PiFi at the Bakers Square pie chop, CyFi in my friend Cy's house, TryFi when it sometimes worked and sometimes didn't... you get the idea. I thought I won when I suggested that since routers can run on 2 speeds, they should be BiFi.) So MiFi is really just a generic name for data sharing device. It's not that hard, really.

 

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1 hour ago, TCW said:

It has always been my understanding that if using a secure connection i.e. https; that while a hacker may be able to intercept a transmission, the encrypted data can not be read.

And you are correct.  Kirk has described the way people have sometimes gotten into trouble when they connect to a fake wifi rather than the real one.  This, most likely, occurs far more frequently in environments such as airports than it does in RV parks and similar locales.

With all due respect, I don't think it is helpful to perpetuate the "fear factor" displayed in some of the previous posts.  I know that this will cause some people to jump in with the usual "I know of someone who got scammed ....." remarks but IMHO eddie1261 nailed it in his post.  Practice safe computing--use complex passwords and vary them among your accounts.  That way, even if one of your accounts gets compromised you don't have to change all the passwords.  Consider using LastPass or one of the other password managers to keep track of those complex PW's. Lastly, keep the devices on your network shielded behind a router and run software protection on them.  I run both anti-virus and anti-malware programs on all my laptops.

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10 minutes ago, eddie1261 said:

Jetpack is an external device that acts like your home router but for cellular. Mifi is an older term for what a Jetpack does.

I believe that both Jetpack and MiFi are both registered trademarks of Verizonwireless which continues to use both of them.  On the Verizon website store the hotspots are described as "Jetpack MiFi" devices.

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10 minutes ago, docj said:

I believe that both Jetpack and MiFi are both registered trademarks of Verizonwireless which continues to use both of them.  On the Verizon website store the hotspots are described as "Jetpack MiFi" devices.

Joel you sound like you have experience with them. I have not yet bought one as I am not close to heading out into the world yet. Can you explain why I want the 7730L vs the AC791L? It seems like they all do the same thing and this is little more than the Netgear vs Linksys vs D-Link argument. As long as they route and let me share, I see little difference. I can get a 7730L free from a friend who got one for his father and then saw his father pass away, and it is unopened! Since I am a cheap Slovenian and like "free", I will probably do that. I see these passionate arguments about gear that usually boil down to "This is what I have always done and it works so it MUST be the right thing." Well, "works" isn't the defining criteria, is it? How about words like "optimal"?

So your input on the Verizon devices would be appreciated.

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TCW.  using a public wifi, even when visiting a site HTTPS.  altho the site is secure, your whole hard drive is open to someone who can hack into that.  Probably 15 yrs ago i watched a show. lady was in airport, using public wifi. they showed how a (under controlled circumstance's). hacker gained access to her laptop, he then c/p all her login info bank card numbers ect..

He then walked up to her an showed her them. 

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On ‎12‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 3:57 AM, wildmandmc said:

TCW.  using a public wifi, even when visiting a site HTTPS.  altho the site is secure, your whole hard drive is open to someone who can hack into that.  Probably 15 yrs ago i watched a show. lady was in airport, using public wifi. they showed how a (under controlled circumstance's). hacker gained access to her laptop, he then c/p all her login info bank card numbers ect..

He then walked up to her an showed her them. 

OK, so if they can get through the security of my WFR Go2 router, how do they get the login data that I type in when I am on an https site? I do not keep passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other personal information on my computer.

All my personal information has already been hacked from the Office of Personnel Management, Target and Experion so I have implemented security measures with the credit bureaus, banks, credit card companies, etc. 

Edited by TCW
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22 hours ago, eddie1261 said:

Joel you sound like you have experience with them. I have not yet bought one as I am not close to heading out into the world yet. Can you explain why I want the 7730L vs the AC791L?

eddie:

Bill Joyce's post covers the issue well. It's primarily an issue of what frequency bands are covered by the device.  Also the user interface on the 7730L is very nice; when you tether it you are asked "are you using the tether to pass data and power or just power?" which makes connecting to something like a WiFiRanger very easy.

Joel (AKA docj)

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Along those lines, this questions fits in quite seamlessly. Who has used the weBoost with the stubby white omnidirectional roof antenna rather than the big directional one with the parabolic dish and directional antenna? I plan to go with that one so I don't have to be aiming dishes. One youtuber tested it and on camera he had 2 bars without the weBoost and 4 with it. I don't remember his actual db ratings but I thing he picked up quite a bit of boost when he kicked the power on, from like -90 to -78 or so. It really showed a dramatic improvement.

And usual disclaimer to anybody who is not familiar with this type of device, no antenna can CREATE a signal where this is none. It can only amplify what it finds. Believe it or not, there are people who think they can be in the bottom of a canyon somewhere 50 miles from a cell tower and they turn on this magic box and they suddenly have strong data signal. I read their posts all the time. ^_^

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Of course an antenna cannot CREATE a signal, but a higher gain antenna will pass a stronger signal to the device it's connected to. We use a Maximum Signal Max Amp RV cell booster fed by a SuperMaxx omni-directional rooftop antenna for cell coverage throughout our motorhome. We haven't been "in the bottom of a canyon somewhere 50 miles from a cell tower" yet, but we have been several places where our previous weBoost Drive 4G-M either didn't get a signal or at best gave us a 3G signal, and the Max Amp kept us online with a solid 4G connection. How much of that is antenna and how much is the amplifier is beyond my pay grade, but the combination has sure worked well for us.

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Another question for the cyber security experts. My bank and credit card websites will not allow access to my accounts (even with the correct username and password) if they do not recognize the device that the request is coming from. A text message is sent to my cellphone with a 6+ digit code. The code must be entered in a specific period of time and I think a relatively small number of errors locks the account. So unless the hacker can make the website think they are using my computer, or intercept the text message; how can they access my account(s)?

Edited by TCW
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On 12/28/2017 at 5:53 PM, Saly said:

Hello,

I am new to RVing and we will be in a Class C motorhome in Arizona for a month.   The locations will be random, in parks and in parking lots.  How do I keep or get an  internet connection for the PC?  

Is there a general information sheet on the Escappes website that will inform me of the ins and outs of internet use on the road?  The phone should work out fine but the PC is needed.  

Thanks for the help.   I am really excited to try out a month of exploring.   

Sally

Getting back to Saly's original question, the choices are (in general):

Free wi-fi from places like McDonald's or some campgrounds.  Advantage: the price.  Disadvantages: having to be at the location offering the free wifi,  possibly slow or limited service.

Cellular data:  Adantages:  generally secure connections, available wherever you can get a cellular signal. You may be able to tether your PC to your phone, but mobile hotspots that connect your PC to the cellular network via a wi-fi link are also available.  Disadvantages: Cost for the access device, possible data caps with higher costs if you exceed the monthly allocation.  Speed is dependent on the load on the cell tower and your distance from it.

Satellite dish Internet:  Advantage - available anywhere you can see the satellite in the southern sky.  Disadvantages - You have to be stationary with a clear view to the satellite in the southern sky.  High costs, usually slow data.

Escapees doesn't have an Internet access guide that I know of, but there is a very good one maintained by Technomadia at their Mobile Internet Resource Center.  They have lots of good information about a constantly changing marketplace with much of it is available for free.  Click on their "Guide to Mobile Internet Options for RVers" as a good starting point and explore from there.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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TCW. ok if your using a router then your security is a little bit more.  What i was talking about is ... for example you go into a donut shop turn your laptop on an connect to their wifi. then that is an can be hacked into. 

As for credit/debit card info. on public wifi depending on level of expertise he can access by what's on your hard drive. 

But using a router/modem to connect to internet he can be blocked. getting into that requires a lot more expertise an a person with that know how would be or could be some place not close by. 

My computer customer's i tell them when their traveling or going to use public wifi, get another device an use that one that has not been used to access sensitive info. (amazon fire, ipad,). 

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You can also take a small USB powered travel router to places like Panera Bread and McDonald's if you want to make it harder to crack.  These do take some fiddling with, but if some security is important the fiddling can be worth it.  RogerK4RS turned me onto the GL model, which he uses with an AT&T Mobley mobile hotspot.  A whole $16.99 from Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/GL-iNet-GL-MT300N-Pre-installed-Performance-Compatible/dp/B01AL7P1FU/ . 

Edited by Bill Joyce
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